Getty, open content, and the Church

Today, the Getty has announced the Open Content Program "to share, freely and without restriction, as many of the Getty’s digital resources as possible." See: Open Content, An Idea Whose Time Has Come.

After a quick browse, I downloaded the above image of the Madonna and Child by "The Master of St Cecilia" (Italian, about 1290 - 1295, Tempera and gold leaf on panel.) On requesting a download, you have to choose from a small number of options in two dropboxes to indicate your use of the file. The download was 15Mb so I have re-sized the image to prevent the blog from being slowed down.

I find this sort of thing very encouraging. There really does need to be a re-think in the Church about "intellectual property" as we have seen with the ICEL copyright fiasco and, more recently, the recent really stupid hassling of Brandon Vogt and Fr Zuhlsdorf who gave their time and expertise to make the encyclical Lumen Fidei better known.

The Libreria Editrice Vaticana and some Bishops' Conferences (such as the USCCB) need to look at this Open Content Program and draw the appropriate lessons. If Getty finds it advantageous to share its collection as open content, it just might be a good idea to do the same with liturgical texts and papal encyclicals. N'est ce pas?

I couldn't resist looking through some of the photos. Here is one taken by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1844 of Nelson's column under construction:

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